The Carotenoid- Omega Bioavailability Study: COAST

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Whether it is nutrition, medical care, the nutraceutical industry, or safety and quality regulatory bodies, dietary antioxidants are at the core of the narrative, where the fascinating xanthophyll carotenoids (XCs) are the quintessential antioxidants. This dissertation is an investigation into the bioavailability of the XCs lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z), and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) in nutritional supplements, their measurement in human tissue, and their environmental and nutritional determinants in human beings. To achieve this, the methodology to quantify these XCs at the retina, in terms of macular pigment (MP), had to be established. The first part of this dissertation presents the two studies conducted to standardize the measurement and report of MP: a validation study, where the Spectralis MPOD module is presented as a reliable and feasible technique, and a new metric for reporting MP is proposed, called MP optical volume (MPOV) that accounts for MP profile and distribution; and a descriptive study, which reports MP and its constituents in serum and diet for the first time in a Mexican sample. In addition, it describes sunlight exposure and dietary patterns as determinants of MP. Based on this standardized and proposed methodology, a 6-month, multiplearm, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted. A novel formulation with acetate derivatives of L, Z, and MZ, was found to have better bioavailability by producing a higher response in serum for Z and MZ, in comparison with classic microcrystals-in-oil formulations. Currently, these XCs have been proven to enhance visual performance and are potential preventive and therapeutic agents in retinal pathology. Understanding the complex interactions of these carotenoids would help improve the role of these antioxidants in human health. This research has progressed our scientific knowledge in a way that we can improve the delivery of these natural micronutrients to enhance human health and function.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nolan, John Michael, Supervisor
  • Prado-Cabrero, Alfonso, Supervisor
  • Moran, Rachel, Supervisor
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021


  • Carotenoid-Omega Bioavailability, COAST


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